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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 10, 2014 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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we have some partners in the ni. private sector that help us smae manage it, some of our abo outpatient clinics. >> those are really smaller facilities, right? what about the very large th hospitals wheree pier to pier -i and let's be honest, it's not a critici criticism, there cannot be the private sectorisin l efficienci the large va hospital currently. is there value in looking at >>s larger facilities and saying, can we provide private sector management? >> sure, i think we can look at this it, the one thing we can tell you, if this crisis has taught c me omanything, it's to question the intent behind everything.t >> has there ever been a study h performance baseda on managemen from the private sector? >> periodically we do. the one thing -- just one momenm of concerne. a lot of the metrics is to generate revenue. i would say that other agencies, medicare and others have had me issues of that.
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our version of productivity, i would ask to have some measure of skepticism in the i want interpretation of that y d productivity data. it is tied to revenue. >> i want to thank you again, i appreciate your candor, and i will tell you two weeks ago, many of us are asking for urgency, we have heard that froe you tonight. the acting secretary has i demonstrated his approach as one of urgency ask well. that i thank you very much. >> i do ask unanimous consent be that the former chairman of the subcommittee of oversite investigation be allowed to ask questions. without objection, johnso you're recognized for five minutes. >> thankl you, mr. chairman, an thank you to my colleagues for allowing me to participate. i commend you for your candor, i have -- i want to focus on the t it issue. as subcommittee of the o & i
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committee, one of my very first requests of the va was to show t me the it architecture for the o va. now, i don'tn know what your ity background is, so i don't mean ar to be insulting. do you know what an it architecture is? >> i godo. i was in the systems. >> do you realize that it's nowt going on fouurr years and we stl do not have the it architecturem you aknow, i sat with the secretary in his office, and i gave him an analogy that he is d familiar with as a battlefield commander, you would not go intf a conflict. i mean, our young people that we are now trying to take care of, and their veteran years, when , they were serving, they dependee upon leaders to make good strategic decisions and know lie whats the enemy had out in fron of us, know what our cape abilities were to offset those
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risks and those threats.o they have the same expectation a now of the va to understand what their needs are, and what the capabilities are that are required to meet them. the va has got hundreds and hundreds of it systems. you made a statement earlier, lu you said, i think to my colleague, one of the systems you said, you would not approveh it until it was proven to integrate with our current system. how in god's name can you expect new it integration to be complete and accurate in the va still has no idea what the architecture of its va it development is. you're spoendsing hundreds of millions of dollars a year on it related things and dr. draper,
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mr. griffin, miss halladay, i hope that that's one thing you'll take away from here as you're looking and investigating into what the problem is, part l of the reforms thatoo the va nes to get to is coming into the 21st century not only in terms of systems, but in systematic p processes and current state of n the artd methodologies for managing those systems. when are we going to see what the va plans to do with its information architecture? >> i'll have to take that one back -- >> i heard that three years ago. and i'm not trying to be disrespectful.t that's the same old question.ul you know, we come out every two years and chase that rabid around the circle and put the dogs up until we ask it again. >> i think we have to ask what do we want? in this case, for scheduling,
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wen watt to be able to provide r timely, accurate information about when veterans want to be seen and what capacity we want h to seeat them, whether we build that or acquire. i would rather buy what the industry has, hl-7, most modern systems speak that language.uage so does our old legacy vista o system. i would not look to have complicated interfaces but whatw the industry can show itus. >> i agree with you, i suggestey to the secretary in 2012, he said, there's three priorities, we're eliminating the homeless problem, reducing the backlog. and getting an electronic health record. and i would not approve a single new dollar of new it spending until someone in that it department could show me the thrrent architecture and how all
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these systems fit together. and how any new it spending is going to affect them. let me make one more point because i'm running out of time. you talked about the electronic made positive nd comments. i confess that i don't know dot where the status is as of today. but i can tell you that at the end of 2012 we had a joirnt sect hearingar and they were proudly saying that we were going to dly have a single transparent electronic health record for our military from start to finish, i within the next five years. you've been work on it for ten o years. this is not a matter of can do, it's a matter of want to, and the department does not want that electronic health record dt because the it technology to gei it is there today if they reallr wanted to do it. mr. chairman, i yield back, thanks for giving me the opportunity.
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>> thank you very much. the clock says 10:10, we will stand in recess for five minutes. voters are going to the polls today in six states. five are holding congressional primaries. maine, north dakota, south carolina and virginia. arkansas residents are voting on attorney general and state legislative seats. lindsey graham is facing six challengers in the republican primary, he must clear 50% of the vote in order to avoid a runoff, we'll have the elections tonight on c-span. in virginia, the second ranking republican in the house is facing college professor david bratt in the republican primary. his seat was considered safe, but even so, he spent millions on that race. we'll have those results tonight on c-span.
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up next, the recent prisoner exchange with the taliban, wait times at va facilities and government accountability.ntinu. he joined us on this morning's washington journal. >> our first guest of the morning is representative doug . republican from tee. georgia, a member of the oversight and government reform committee and also a member of the foreign affairs committee, h welcome. >> good to be inhere.u mean b >> you're doing an effort in congress, taking a look at something called redundant federal programs. of it seems obvious, but what is it? >> looking at programs that arev duplicative or this takes away our excuses. what we're doing here is s, taking -- people understand it that way, the brack style commission. we talk about itur all the time
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let's come together and put this on the floor, straight up or down vote, and you say you're either for cutting this or not for cutting this. it gives you another tool in thp toolbox, but takes away our excuses for programs that are out there. >> examples of programs you would deem redundant? >> i think duplicative in a this catfish program is one. multiple inspection programs for the catfish program. >> and the fish, yeah, i grew up in north georgia. we look at them, yeah, it looks good, let's throw them in the on bucket and go.ecause >> these are the kind of y end programs that have beenup talkes about foimr years, and never acd upon we're just simply saying, let's take some of the politicao pressure out, let's take it wite something that both republicans. and democrats, independents, no ndn matter what wefi all know is cd there, let's look at it, let's i talk about it, confirm the ones that we can, bring it to the floor, and then you can explain, you either are for cutting or getting the government more efficient or you're not
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>> how are we getting to the point where we duplicate themselves. >> it's government. when you have multiple agencies that do housing, social security disability benefits, those kindo of things where you have boo duplicative payments coming up, these are things -- there are all kinds of examples, the waste book that dr. coburn has put out. we see these every year, the question is, areho we going to something about it. >> the gao put out a report saying, since 2011, the of government has only addressed y your 20% of redundant wasteful you h programs. 15% of it ignored, dea you say bill deals with excuses, what are some of the excuses that you hear when dealing with these programs. >> it goes back to, a lot of ca times theywe start protection. we need to do this, because frop we're specifically able to do this part, or from government, from officials, from public y n officials. program that is good
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in their district, it may not bo best for the country i think ngs this takes us out of the parochial interest of each of wc our districts. looks at the budget as a whole, and says, what are the areas oft programs that we can look at, this says, there's no more t wee excuses, let's quit telling the american people that we'rein gos to get our fiscal house in order, let's do something about this in a way that brings it to the floor. these can be done, but we just haven't done it. >> is the best way starving programs that are duplicative? what's the best way in your mind? >> i iss was a state legislator before i came here, we had to ,l balance the budget. gover one of the issues from a republican perspective, says we look at these areas of govern government waste or age inefficiencies. i sponsored a decent legislatiot in georgia that consolidated government to government agencies, that saved 2 to $3 million first in initial anticipation. 10 toblic 15 million overtime. that's actually what we as
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republicans have always said, look at the programs, that needed to be cut or are consolidated so it makes it more efficient. the same jobs ar theytting done. it's a government to governmente function. many of these agencies are government to government functions. we continue to have them. and that's something we need to address. >> who's with you on this effort. >> good support from both republicans and democrats, we're working it now, just reduced the bill, working on cocoa sponsors. when members hear the process, they say, that's something that they like, the concept of, e because really it does take outo the n process, we've had such a broken appropriations system over the past few years for many reasons, and not to blame our appropriators, this is another way that we can get back to rts in giving another tool in the toolbox for cutting and gettingr ourom fiscal house norin order.s >> our guest represents georgia, he's from georgia, here to take your questions about duplicative
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programs. if you want to send us a thoughe via e-mail, send us a tweet @cspan wj is how you do that. >> information was released t: yesterday about the prisoner trade. did you have a chance to attend that? >> i did not. but at thers same time, we have had numerouslo conversations wi other membersthis and those thah have looked at this issue. i'm concerned about this, this goes back to a base issue of ih what the administration did.bad i look at sam johnson who came o out and said, this should note be done. this puts us in a bad position. it gives us a new situation of
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negotiating with terrorists.ld i think this sends a terrible message across the world that basically our people are up for ransom and our administration will do -- especially the taliban that was released if wei had anyti idea or thought that these are going to go back and be peaceful loving citizens, we're fooling ourselves. and this to me is a scary press den the. >> one of the colleagues in the house took on these issues. she was briefed on the exchange, she came to cameras and talked . about, she talked about those who would criticize the exchange, here's what she had td say, we'll get youuar response it. >> it's likely that at the end of the conflict those individuals who never were -- there were no specific charges against them, that it is very possible, very likely, that at the end of the conflict that those individuals would have had
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to have been released. we then might have gotten therw nothing. the reason that this operation took place when it did is that there was reason to believe apparently that sergeant bergdahl's life was in danger wt got something for that exchange. i don't understand. i am mystified and disgusted that the fact that this kind of successful operation now is being criticizedt . >> representative collins? that >> i'm sort of amazed at her statements, and to say in a sense, when you take -- using his life.. all pows that are captured in a wartime environment are in danger of their lives.are we know that the soldiers that were on duty. they failed to do their job again. to protect their country in a
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way that is consistent with democrat and republican administrations to not negotiate with a terrorists. to say you get something in the end, at the end of a war, that is when you have a sorting out, as we have in vietnam. some that did live, some that did not.tion t to come out andha say, we had ti trade this, we had to get something for this, what we got is a reputation in the world that will say, simply, we'll trade and negotiate if somebody's life is in danger. what's the next step. i think we're on a slippery slope here. her comments -- she's mystified, i'm mystified. >> does it complicate things yoe going-forward in afghanistan? >> i think it could. you departed from a long term standing of our country and a r long term policy of our country. had it been at times things that have not been properly done? at this point, from not notifying congress, not doing es theo things that are still raisd up here, just the basic fact of, everything that i've heard so dr
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far. it goes back to his life was in danger. all pows lives are in danger. to use that as an excuse, why are we not trading for ourselves. >> steve on our independent line, steve, good morning. >> good morning, good morning congressman.t >> one reason i turned from republicans to independent was e that the government can't take care of their own house. and yet like you were talking about earlier, all these redundant programs, yet you want to cut social programs that people need. and this is an issue, i mean, the tea party especially is onen thing that chased me from independent. take care of your own house first before you start -- especially as a republican, before you start talking about cutting social programs. >> steve, i think one of the things i have said here, i've not targeted any specific sociae program, it's all programs f inr general. if you're going to be honest
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with the federal government, if you're going to be honest with , our budgeting process, i think as a conservative, you have to look at that and say we need to get on the path of fiscal h stability and balanced budget. we need to be on a path in which we bring down our deficits. if you look at my voting recordr i've beeen consistent saying there are areas of defense to other programs in our to mak government, if they're ation inefficient they need to simply to make a generalizationi to say that i or anyone else is not getting our house in order first. you look at it from a national perspective, are we getting our national budge noertd and taking these interests out. >> a state perspective, tell me one redundant program only georgia gets that would benefit -- that gets benefits from which you would end? >> that onlys re georgia gets? i'm not sure of one that only georgia gets, if it's redundant it needs to go, i have it on record.rogram states do this all the time,s. they have to balance their budget. they have to look at their
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programs, in georgia, we went gn through a situation inme which lost almost $5 billion in revenue. we had to look at our programs, our government. if we're afraid to look at our spending habits, then we're not doing what we should be doing in congress. that means looking at everything. and i think that's what this does, it's a part of what we should be doing as legislators. >> another tweet brings it back to cutting funding. don't you see duplicative programs before you vote for has those bills?offer >> we do. g that's oneo of the reason many s us offer p amendments on the floor? we go out -- the problem in thee last fewm years, up until this year is, we've been doing thesec large spending bills that come to it in one large flow, in which wlur not cutting, you may be cutting the growth rate, you're not actually cutting, a 10% -- you only do it five, it's not a 5% cut, it's a 5% race.
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we have to get back to the hones honest math that moms and dads and business owners all across g the country have to do when they balance their own home budgets and businesses. we have to take those same approaches. >> here is debbie, debbie is from ohio. >> i wanted to say that i cannot believe what president obama is getting away with in our country, everybody needs to demand his impeachment, we is cannot keep up wit h the scandals and who knows what's coming down the road next? he's like a whirlwind tasmanian, devil period. it doesn't matter if he's black. white, purple, republican, democrat, what he's doing, he's destroying our country. th >> i wouldat agree, i disagree greatly with this president. i think there's a lot of thingsh
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we've been in the housee talki about the -- you can't simply g runth the country by executive . order. you can't ignore black letter da law. this is a concern, i think it goes back to something i have talked about a lot. it goes back to article one congress.on a congress thatgres appropriated does the constitutional rule of. government. you can use the budget to deal with executive branch and other areas. these are areas thatnt we're goe to have to continue to look at. i agree that we need to have thi programs in place, and the oversight in place to keep the . executive in >> washington, d.c., david, hello. >> hi, thank you for your service.say that my question is that you're not the first government official tl state that there's government waste, i think there's lots of -- we're all in agreement on that fact.will be what do you recommend as your approach will be different that will get a different result in terms of consolidating agencies.
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>> thank you, david, i appreciate that.he up until this point we're ad a g looking atoo it from -- we've n had a good handle on it, this a gives uson as i said it gives u another tool in the toolbox.mite the panel i would be put togeth and the committee would be put together is made up of both republicans and democrats, with a look at the appropriations measures as a whole. not as a whole, but in parts, doing so, they can focus on those and bringing those to the house committee, if the e committee doesn't ability, they go straight to the house floor, it comes as an up or down vote within 10 hours of the debate. you're not coming in here and $b trying to doil amendments. you offer up or down. we found 100 billion in waste, a which jail reports and taking t different aspects we may get hat
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that much or 50 -- you have to say, i agree with this cut or i don't agree with this cut, if i you agree with it, you say, here's why i agree with it, i'm cutting this -- if i don't agree with it, you go back to the people in your district and say, this $50 billion needed to stay in the budget and here's why. >> it puts us on a different er path of ensaying, let's take it out of the appropriations other process, the appropriations continue doing what they're doing, it gives us another tool and takes away excuses. the c >> the committee would be compromises of members of ind congress. or would it be independent? >> nonvoting members of congrest have those appointed by the president and leadership, and go both the senate and theod house. >> oxford, pennsylvania. good morning to bob.n. hello. >> caller: good morning, c-span. we cornered so many things this morning, one thing he's talking about, i guess every program has
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its faults and waste, amendments, i would think would be the thing to cut the fat out and leave any program. also, he was talking ssi. almost with the va, the -- if ts anybody dealt withen that, it takes two to three years if you apply, send you to the social security doctors and they say no yes you can't rwork. by the time you hire a lawyer o3 a group that represents you, it's two to three years, people. that time, they commit suicide in that time. families have suffered in that m time. one more thing about the trade.e i -- i'm sure some of those guys are not good characters, if that was your son that came home or any american son that came home, i would love to hear what you ua would have to say about it then. thank you so much, and god bless america.
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>> the bigger principle is theye sergeant's family pleased he's coming home? i'm sure they are. in aso, in a wartime environment, in an area -- in a world that is a hostile place, you have to look after the whole as well. i think this sets a bad aughte precedent for other sons and daughters in harm's way.ght. when we look at this perspective, i think this is where the administration lackedy foresight. they lacked -- just frankly, again, going against a principle we have stood by for many years, looking forward to that.ell yo >> look at the programs, the good, i'm not sitting -- i'm not a republican that is sitting here that will tell you to go away. i'm a believer in the we hav constitutional form of government we have, it needs to. be efficient. hesing talked about the backlogk of the most depressing things in my office is when i talk to our caseworkers who handle -- a ser
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majority of theirit cases are s social security cases. the veterans administration case is not being able to get get an deployments, when our constituents have to call my th office so they can get an e sens appointment or the things that are promised to outhem, that's problem. and that is a concern for me, in the sense that when you go back to the way they book an appointments, they record keep, thear folks who work in the clinics and hospitals are good s nurses and doctors trying to dot their got the t administration -- the va s let them down and structurally,g we have got to change this because if not, we're in a tive position, one speaking from an iraq war perspective, i talked about this before, in the sense that we're in a position now, the worst is yet to come. if we don't structurally fix ui this now, 5, 10 years from now, when many were coming back fromy the wars over the past 12 years, they're going to be utilizing the system. simply band aiding this is not what we need to do. otherwise, we'll never be able t
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it.o >> i think we'll be looking over that, and i think the armed services committee and veterans. affairs chairman miller has done great work on this, bringing out the real inefficiencies that are there. we should notll allow our y and government to especially in ti dealing with those whofo have served our country and fulfilled their commitments it is time for the government to step up and sw fill theirs. sending them to an inefficient t system in which they end up : calling their congressman to get help. to me shows a tremendous nate breakdown in a system that and ld work. >> they have comewo up with a pc dealing with this issue.ral in what do you think about the bones of that nplan? >> looking at the structural sti integrity, anything we look at now, from taking, holding accountability to the administration, the administration of the va and also different -- it's things we have, structural change has to n
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take place, those steps like that are the discussions we neen to be having. we have those discussions, we're able to take care of it in the long term. that's what i'm committed to doing. >> structural changes meaning? >> updating appointment systemsb updating the systems in which the appointments and referrals and the service members get s ya help.tu those are theal kinds of things that can go -- co sponsor of th legislation. if thea oc va can't go -- you co to the private doctor with the va paying for it. we have to come up with models that dpit the system and the problems in the department. the problem is, many times we ks look at the system and say, let's fix it as it is. we have to think outside the box, what government does not d. is think outside the box, we think in terms of the way it's always been.let' we always just think about it as it has been. i
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let's think about it in terms oy what it could be? instead of going from problem to problem to problem, let's startg doing the role of congress, that is oversite, making sure we're looking 10 and 20 years down the road, instead of tomorrow. >> does any of that involve more money? >> we have to look at the structure -- you can't continue to feed -- there may be priority changes. i'm for getting our budget in order so we can prioritize. for other issues, as long as -- we're feeding a deficit and a debt like we are, we have trouble prioritizing the issuesn that need to get dn. somethi when we put a structure in place that works, we give them the s r ability to saye here's somethi worth spending money oh, that's when we have the discussion -- specifically as a government reflex, to spend more money on something is a mistake. >> scott from allentown, host pennsylvania. good morning, republican line.
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>> caller: yeah, hi, thank you very much for having me on your program this morning. i wanted to touch base with the senator said earlier about cutting wasteful systems and nt spending, we should bring jobs back to this country.same lev our jobs report is up, but our unemployment is still at the same level. yet we won't touch base on ded unemployment extensions, we won't touch base on funding these programs that are needed socially. also, with like the va, the va't scandal, i don't understand why anybodyse needs to wait 90 days? see a doctor, why can't we just see a regular doctor in the t network -- if i'm sick and i t want to see a doctor, i go out and see a sdoctor. i don't understand why we need
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to waste tons of money for this, when it's just common sense.m ta if you can't get into the va hospital, send them to a regula. hospital, don't make them wait 90 days when it comes to ng, i affairs, when it comes down to spending, i believe in cutting wasteful spending, i neo believe in bringing in jobs such as -- keystone, boosting our economy, letting our country be a tapless nation.elp. >> that's what we just talked it about, if they can't get there, let's think outside the box. and in return, the house has tru passed keystone, we worked on energy policy. all these things that have passed the house, they got stuck in the senate, in which there'sn aee roadblock, these are the kis of i do not believe it -- government needs to promote and
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have the access that allows the mark market. we have to dotht ca things such keystone, the other things that can create jobs and infrastructure, those things make the private sector ssue o confident in where we're going,n where we're heading. that's the jobs issue which we'll take care of. these are issues we have to take into account when you look at the unemployment numbers and jon numbers as well. >> what about education, what do you think about what he again announced? >> well, i think again it's a s situation which you have the det presidenter looking at anything. let's help out these that are tt under water,iv it's a popular me to do that, can you stimulate some economy? economic growth, possibly so. g i think the issue, though, is when we look at our overall
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process in government, it comes back to a bottom line of government and government spending, and the deficit issues need to be addressed. we can band aid it, talk about capping a student's income, -te which help in the short term, but long term, we have to start making structural changes, ineffective changes to make surr our government is as efficient as possible. when we get our house in order, they'll see that and that's something we need to share. >> independent line. >> caller: yes, good morning, you found out some misinformation as well. the taliban is not a terrorist organization, it's al qaeda. also, do you remember in the adg '80s with the contra, ollie north and reagan trading guns for drugs to the rebels?
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i mean, those things should be said to. you shouldn't just sprout out i that this has been unprecedented that the president did with this soldier.lican listen, every time a republicano president goes to war, a democratic president has to clean ourselves up, then you want to blame him for how he's handling your mess. the country's been hurting ever since. your republicans p always tryin to cut stuff, and deny the people what's right for them, but you get big businesses likes the banks, their bailouts, the auto company get their bailoutsn >> okay, thanks, caller. >> i think at this point we have a philosophical disagreement here, one of the things i said w earlier, this is ahe policy thas when we first started, there have been times when this has been violated. it's not good then, it's not good now, trading is not right,
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it's not something we need to bb doing, in my mind, and many other's minds, and especially, i go back to those, a man who suffered, can you see it in hisr body, his face, who suffered for his country, who said, this is not right. this is a man who's been a pow.e this is a man who was there, who would have loved to have come o' hom' but yet he understood the process and the principlep i don't care when it was violated, it shouldn't be, and it is wrong. >> this is james on our e-mail saying, given the most recent history of the republican cuts, what assurances can you give that this is not another round of cuts of services for the people. and redirecting funds to special interest tax breaks. this is devastating to the middle class, we have no more to give. >> the interest of what is are o perspective here is, we're ds
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looking at the total budget process. what is interesting here, most a of my democratic friends have called in, they go straight to saying, you're going to cut social programs.i this is a total look at the gle budget as a whole.rstand i said every appropriations at bill, when you start to ot eve understand that everything can , looked at, not everything cut, not everything role would be o changed or consolidated. but when you look at everything, that's the role of government. that is the role of congress to be doing, we cannot simply just. sit up here and continue to do r things the way we've always done it, when you look at it as a total. i would rather see a government that has a fiscal house in ch order. it's deficits paid down, and ion then we can make priority en we choices as a nation, where we want to spend our money.trol right now, when you have 82% of our budget roughly that we have no real control over, it's a mandatory spend. that is a problem. and if people have trouble k att understanding that, all i ask is that they look at their own household budget. and they say, i'm going to take
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82% of your bring home, it's goo to go to one place. you have to live off that other 16, your only changes, it's only worked to make your changes in that 16% or 15, depending on the number, they're going do say, to that's not right.: that's not what's happening in government. we are bringing it downques to let's look at everything.aul rya >> where else do you go then, sequestration god put into place, the approach that paul g: ryan took, where do you go from there, then? >> what do you meanfrom where du go from there?bu >> as far as making cuts to the budget? >> begin, i am for many times,'' when we talks about budgets, we say, let's cut x amount off the top. that's not a a good way to do simeting either.a go there are programs that need priorities. but when you simply take and say, because of a process that's not been working, a process that's been -- especially over the past few years, basically fatally flawed because you're coming to an end or a crisis,
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that's not a good way to make decisions. moms and dads who sit around the table, they make crisis decisions, they make the best decision they can at that pointu they look back on it and say, here's another option. let's go on regular order, go c through the process, use a bill such as mine to say, let's take the politics -- you never take t politics out of everything. let's look at duplicative that a spending and bring is t to the floor. and that adds on to what the budgetary process is doing, we have to go there. people may not want to hear it, it's not going to be an easy choice for representatives on sh this hill. got it's got to to be done, otherw where are we going to be. >> here's regina from g my connecticut. >> thank you for taking my call. i'm calling about a statement that was made earlier. don' h' said that we don't negotiate with terrorists.untr we're not fighting another country, we're fighting terrorists, so who do you t negotiate with.gues i would like him to answer that
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question for me. thank you.are way t >> we're not going to negotiate with the ones we just gave the h prisoners away to. however you want to classify that, the people holding the hostage are the people we've negotiated with, because we gave -- basically people in return for that, i'm not -- i ai apologize, maybe i d didn't ly nderstand her question completely. >> rah t gina, are you still there? >> yes, i'm still here. >> do you want to follow up? >> my question,we're not fighting a country. we're fighting theyd, captured a soldier of -- however it happened, i don't know. if we don't negotiate with the terrorists, how will we get our people back if they're captured? >> at this point in time, you've bring up a h great point, at tht point, as i've saiiad before, en in my introduction, the people we've negotiated with are the ni ones whos were holding hostaget
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the time. this is basically a different k kind of warfare, we're not fighting x countries.have i i think it means more to a problematic situation. non when we have splintered groups,b that may capture an americanle military or nonmilitary, what line do we draw?orld r this is the problem we have in our country, in our world right now. is a difficult place, but the h ones that -- just frankly, who d do we negotiate with, we negotiate with the ones that are holding them. i think that sets a dangerous precedent for going-forward. >> was there a better way of getting them back? >> at this point, i'm not sure.e and the question is, what was said even earlier by the representative is, we got something for that, well, what did we get? we got our sergeant is a that's a good thing, in the e ic sense that he is coming home, he's no longer captured, also, again, that good, what does it entail for later on, what other- things from this -- what other t some
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groups are saying, well, let's get some more out of guantanamo, out of another country. the again, my concern here is, that in this specific time frame, tar with this specific individual who they're saying had a life threatening condition, is that the standard we use, if a pow or someone is captured, we'll s negotiate with them? is that the standard we've set? if it is i think that's an interesting agenda for anyone tt who may or may not want to taken a u.s. citizen or military person hostaghostage. >> doug collins is representative -- republican from georgia, this is -- you heard from regina, next up is kelly, and kelly's from texas, republican line. >> yes. i want to rebut one what of the people said about republicans doing all the wrong. that was the democrats and the
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president that did this. i want to know, because the government is not listening to the people. how do the people go about impeaching the president ourselves, because nobody is listening to us. >> i think that is the frustration that's out there in general, not only with the administration, but the government as a whole. government and it's unwillingness and its size and b programs andud inability to d control his budget, control whas it does has lefttr us in a d situation which people are frustrated they -- because it ia sond foreign from the way -- lit i said before, moms and dads who get up every morning, who only e want the best for themselves, their families, as they go forward, that is the message y that washington needs to bewe ae seeing, we're hearing from you.
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we understand thatab you're frustrated and we're doing thins something about that to work as together. if we can't come together on nec things as simple as duplicative programs, where are we? that's where i'm willing to start with this, no matter what it may be, what issue it may be, is taking an honest look at in where are we as a government?ho: what are we doing, so we can speak to a country that is in desperate need of leadership. >> a viewer asked if you are t: going to put the programs you seed cut or consolidated on line? >> a lot of them are already online. you can go to the waste book and look at the gao report. a lot of these programs have been highlights. some have had some things done a to them. a lot have not. these are the kinds of things dw when i first came to congress, i went to oversight hearings and we would hear about -- the unif duplicative. i'll go straight to one that is gning not -- uniform spending in the military. each branch designing their own
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bdus or the cdus. the millions of dollars that ar designed -- most of which, if you -- especially some, if you o end up in the end, they look very similar, why are we spending hundreds of millions of dollars to do that? and that's something that can be i consolidated? it's justat t so when people call in and simply say, this is something that me and the republicans are wanting to cut social programs, we need to look at it as a whole. that's when we begin to be say honest with the american peopleo and havew a conversation that says wehat know we're out of ed control, we know the budget enci needs to be reignedn in, and whn you get your house in order, they can have confidence that the government is supposed to b: doing what it's supposed to be done. >> yes.the ad what i contr want to know is, tn republican party had t control this congress, the senate and the white house when their tax m policies, they changed the tax laws, the companies outsource their jobs and send them
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overseas, they didn't have to ah pay any income eytax, until the brought that money back. they left that money. they haven't brought it back. as a matter of fact, the there president of the chamber of commerce nationally put on their website that there's much upside to offshoring your jobs. now, that's revenue that's not o coming rtin, if you're not bringing in enough revenue to support the programs, you have to cut spending. to the i believe that that would help if the laws would go back the way they were before, they had g to pay income taxes. a lot of corporations aren't paying any. the tax book shows what's taken in, what's out late. the corporations pay 5% of the money taken in. on benefits for veterans, 3% of the budget went for veterans benef benefits. that's including the gi bill, we're notrei spending too much veterans, i think that needs to
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be increased, corporations coula pay their fair share too. thank you. >> i appreciate that -- the call, i think the issue here isl noty as i've said before, especially the veterans, is that daze not an issue of the money y being spent. is the issue, is the money being spent wisely, on programs that work? or are we going to get into a program for cooking the books.ts and those are the kind of thingc that lose confidence around faith of the american people, especially servicemen and womenh who areta trying to get medical care they need. when they understand their waitf times and appointment times aret being rigged ifra you would, fo the benefit of administrators who don't have direct contact with patients.h my that's a problem, the men and women who have contact with inei patients in my office and the district, when they call in, and they talk to our constituent folks and they get help, most of them will say they get good help, they get the help that tf they need, when they can get it, it goes back to a sad statement
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of the fact of the system when e they have to kuehl a congressman's office to be able to get the help they need. l that's, i think the biggest ters problem for me is, as i look at it, as we go forward in the discussion of veterans tural administration, is are we goingc to makeh structural changes to bring the system to a standard in which we think outside the box, we get the veterans the help they need, they don't think in the end after running a maze of paperwork, they have to call their congressman's office to a get help. >> what do you think about the t president's commitment to a timetable of pullout of troops in afghanistan? >> i think when you look at e is this, is the concern i have is, looking at it from a way that is drawn out in a way that provideh a stable environment. unlike what we have in iraq right now, this past week, weekend was terrible violence again. and in whichng if we do it properly, we have our process of removing our troops, i love to o see our troops come home.melineb i'm again, very -- at times this skeptical of giving a time line,
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if i was looking at it -- t wait saying, on this date, they're going to be gone, i'll wait ear? until that date. that's the only concern i have with the time line. >> is there any more we can do after ten years, do you think?se >> we are drawing down. robert i think that's an appropriate response.repres >> arkedelphia, arkansas. >> caller: i want to ask the du representative oneri question. during george bush's time, what was the republican party? every time they got on nationalo tv, they were talking weapons of mass destruction. and george bush got on tv. if they checked on him the way they're doing this president here we won the have gone to wae in. iraq bases on a lie.nited and also, concern about the jobs
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in the united states, if the hi, republican party had tried just one time to try to help this mat pull us out of the debt we was in, we wouldbe be doing a lot better today, but from day one,t they said, right then and thereg they were not going t to do amer anything that was going to help this man, that means they're not going to do anything to help the american people. >> well, ius think robert and i have definitely one -- i would h say this, i wasn't in congress when george bush was president. i think the other thing is, an interesting correlation there that i would just firmly disagree with, and i may disagree with this president, ad but i disagree with this president doesn't mean i'm against the people. when the comment was made there at the end that if we had -- i'm assuming he's speaking of our o president, that if we just helped the president, we're helping the american people, i think what we have to get away f from is this idea that if you don't do what i like, you're against the american people. we have to look at it from a e. perspective of what is our role t is t in congress, what are we
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supposed to be doing. i believe that is to help the american people. we may have differences on how t you get tthere.sick if you don't line up in the hina support, you're against the host american people, i think that's a wrong statement. >> here is it kathy it statement. >> here's kathy, the it indepet line. >> actually, he began exactly what i was going to say. it would appear it's more if yoe stand with me or you don't stand with me, it would appear there's no real genuine concern for our. country. it's just do you stand with me or do you stand with that person, so do you, sir, believei that you can actually make a rty difference for the people, not a just be a part of this party bashing that continues to go on. right now, we have genuine concerns in our country that should be attended to, they are overlooked and they are not even considered. if someone bring bs upe a genui concern about our soldiers who are in harms way, then we're being unsupportive of our
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president. i don't understand. lon there's a disconnect there. our president no longer, if he ever has, represents this country and i don't understand why we don't see this, it's almost as if aliens could land i up another planet and set up ban base in the united states and we might notice them for 15 minutes but then we would go back to lu party bashing whilete they set their earth base. do you see this, sir, there is no common sense whatsoever even being considered regardless of what side is making a decision? common sense is out the window : now. can you, sir, bring common sense back to the government? got to >> well, kathy, i appreciate te that. i thinkpe what we've got to understand is we've got to lookq at whatue make sense to the ffen american people and you asked oe the question, do i believe that- we can make a difference, and ah i'vere said this before. i don't leave my wife and three kids back in georgia to come up here to think i can't make a cos
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difference. if jink e thatwe, i will never congress. i believe we can make a erspwe difference but i believe what e we've got to do is we do have ta take an honest perspective and look at what we're doing and from a congress perspective is be the article i congress that a the founders intendside acciden that is to control the purse hen stinks, to do the oversight of government. iri believe we can be done. i'll one gets off the plane and i look to the right and i see dr the dome, i still smile because this is the greatest country int the world.e lose in spite of our differences, ifo we lose that perk, we've lost e' perspective of wh' we're here. if we come up here and we don'te believe we can get anything done and we don't believe we can make change, then i'm looking at my three kids and i'm saying i'm not trying to make a difference that your lives and grandkids lives are better. >> you own a small business, a
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scrapbooking store. where did you get -- when it came to the redundant programs, what first drew your attention? what was the thag spurred you on? >> from the congress, like the gao report, from seeing the waste i've seen before. the it comes back to our state lth tour days. i look at some government agencies and i had some reports from our budget folks says these can be done on a better way, soh i said if we're looking to save money, we have other priorities we need to use this money in, whether it be education, our corrections, whatever it may be, then why can't he consolidate here so we have better at is priorities here orwh be able to say this is something we can do. that's where it came to me. new york is from phyllis is. democrats line. hi. >> hi, a very important questioe beginning with president reagans things started to change in terms of corporations.
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there was a very big issue aboum corporate welfare,on when i say that, it means that they have been given money throughout the years, before president obama even got into office, tax dollars, which is corporate welfare, and as the individual that calls from indiana was talking about the outsource, mea they have made their wealth off tax dollars. the american people and then taken those jobs so that they can make more proforts moving't overseas and not paying their fair share of taxes so we have an economic situation where people don't have jobs, people c are losing their iahomes, peopl are hungry, so thinking about cutting social programs, which are going to help people who,asm, do not have their jobs anymore, who are losing things, and continue the same program of
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corporate -- corporations, large corporations not paying their tm fair share, how does that work and how is that helping the stam american people? >> onwell, i think it probably s more of a statement than a question in that regard rm the simple fact is when we go back y again, when you hear cut, it seems like my friends on the ti democratic perspective, which i respect, the first thing they think of is we're cutting sociah program. i have not yetpr -- the two examples i mentioned have of nothing to do with social programs. what you'vee go got to do is ta the government as a whole. one thing that she brought up, we've got to do tax reform.s ofp government should not be in the business of picking winners ande losers. we've got to take an honest look at our tax is in those are the things, common
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sense. i think we can bring it back lot because there is business senser there is common sense in the sense of what is right and how does it affect long term? we've got to get out of do washington, d.c., we've got to get outside of this cycle that'g inside of this beltway that says what crisis do we deal with next. >> republican line, karl from georgia. >> yes, what i would likeia to know is why the governor of thes state of georgia and you can give your opinion as well, has refused to approve the medicaid so that 600,000 georgen -- georgians can have free health care. i know it's because he hates cn obama and i know that it's all political, butgu tell me, how c you all do that?
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>> okay.rnor my understanding that was the republican line? i think what -- what governor deal in georgia but noortgi he o expanding medicaid was basically because of the budgetary situation in georgia and the cost it would incur on the georgia budget which is already tight and under strain like a lot of state se it was a burden thatve could no be beared long term fiscally. i think again it goes back to -t again, the decision here, what the caller said, he he did it because he hated the president. that is just to me what part of our problem in our country is today. he did it on a fiscal reason. i've been 0 on the appropriations committee in georgia. not because he hated an individual. he may have differences of opinion. i think the interesting thing ie also brought up so they can get free health care.ides it is not say
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no matter who provides t it. it is not free and to say that they can get free health care ih a misnoerm. every health care program that t comes from the government comest from tax hedollars, it is not fe and we should not lie to the id american people about that. it is not free. >> how did georgia treat health care? did it open up an exch exchange? >> it did not. it did not, under the federal exchange problems. ahea >> marlene from columbus, ohio, you are the last call.i want a democrats line. marlene go ahead, please. >> i would like to know, and i want an honest answer from you, the amount of money that we eqt spent on each prisoner down there in gitmo, do you equate that with taking care of expenses for your oversights? that is too much money to pay on each prisoner?i' >> well, i appreciate the call.
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i'm not trying to be dishonest in any my comments. think we have to deal with the n prisoners for tgitmo. we need a long term solution for that. those are things and questions that need to be handled and need to be done by both parties.with we need to come to an understanding of what we're ly going to do with those prisoners at guantanamo. but i think simply using them as pawns or chips in a trade-off ii not the proper way to do that. i think those long term timate questions that need to be oice. answered. it's a good question but i think what we have seen and what she's alluding to is the wrong choice. >> what stage is your program?ss >> it's been introduced.some poi we're working on bringing co-respond sers at this point r- and looking toward a hearing at this point. >> doug collins of georgia, a member of the oversight committee. with live coverage of the u.s. house on c span and the senate on c span 2, here on c span 3, we compliment that coverage by showing you the most
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relevant congressional hearings and public affairs events then on weekends, c spab 3 is the home to american history tv with programs that tell our nation's stories. the presidency, looking at the policies and leg yaeses of our nation's commanders in chief. lectures in history, our new series real america, featuring archival government and educational films from the 1930s through the 70s. c span 3, created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local cable and satellite provider. nearly one out of every two acres in the west is owned and controlled by the federal government. up next on c span 3, a
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conversation on federal land policy in western states. then a hearing on border patrol agent pay, and defense undersecretary michael vickers discusses u.s. intelligence challenges and national security. later a look at student loan debt. defense secretary chuck hagel will be on capitol hill to testify about the transfer of five taliban guantanamo detans for the release of army sergeant bowe bergdahl. a reminder you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. in western states, the federal government owns millions of acres of land. coming up, a discussion on control of these lands in western states. we'll hear from congressman rob bishop of utah who chairs a sme on public lands. from the heritage foundation,
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this is an hour. >> good morning and welcome to the heritage foundation and our lewis lairman auditorium. welcome those who join us on our website. i will ask everyone in house if you will double check the cell phones have been turn off, especially with the rain in the area and all the magical warning of flash floods going off it might be a little more descraking than usual. we will of course post this program on the heritage home page following the presentation for everyone's future reference and our internet viewers are all welcome to send comments or questions, simply emailing posting our program today is rob gordon who is senior adviser for our external relations department. before joining us here in 2008,
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he directed several conservation organizations. from 2003 to 6, he served on committee staff for the house committee on resources. in 1989, i founded the national wilderness institute, a nonprofit conservation organization and from '97 to 2002, he served two terms as a member of the commonwealth of virginia's board of recreation and conservation. >> thank you, john, and welcome again to the heritage foundation. we have a great panel today. and judging from many of the faces i see in the audience, we have a great audience too, so i think we'll get some excellent questions. let me start by acknowledging rachel kopec, the coalition coordinator who has worked with us to promote this event and is working with one of the speakers who is engaged with educating state officials on aspects of
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federal land ownership. in a few minutes, i will introduce our speakers and after they have made remarks, we'll take questions. but first i would like to offer a little bit of context for our panel, states of dependence, reducing washington's control of the western u.s. i think some comparisons regarding land areas are needed because the areas we're discussing are so vast that they are difficult to comprehend. when rural lands not under federal control and the lands under federal control are considered together, they are greater than the nation of india. that shouldn't be really too surprising as based on ranking the u.s., we're the third after russia and canada, and according to the natural resources
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conservation service, as of 2003, only 5.6% of the united states was urban. so we have a huge area that is rural. now i raise this because most americans live in urban and suburban areas. partially or predominantly developed area are the rule not the exception as to what most of us see on a day-to-day basis and this certainly affects your outlook and further development close to or within one's already developed little day-to-day world can make it seem as if everything is disappearing. i think this is a very inaccurate perception and it is something that advocates of expanding government land holdsings and imposing barriers and regulations seize upon. so let me offer labor more perspective. nonfederal rural lands total more than 1.3 billion acres, with more than half of that
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being range or pasture. now, these lands aren't owned by the federal government, they are subject to federal laws and regulations that have the effect of land use control in many instances, most commonly carried out through the endangered species act. in addition, to seeking more stringent controls on private land, the environmental establishment has historically sought to expand the federal state, often arguing that doing so the only means of preventing land from being somehow wrecked. but consider this, while alabama, connecticut, georgia, maine, mississippi, new hampshire, new york, pennsylvania, south carolina, and west virginia are not among the states with the largest percentage of federal land ownership, in all of them, significantly more than 50% of the land is forested. suffice it to say there's a vast amount of land, range and forest
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not under federal control has not disappeared that some of the environmental community would like you to believe. further, i would argue providing, food, fiber, energy, improving the well-being of people is hardly something to be calculated as a loss, but on to the federal estate which is vast. the u.s. army corps of engineers manages 12 million acres of public lands and waters nationwide. this is an area greater than tie boston or israel -- taiwan or israel. that may seem large to some of you. the corps of engineers is' relatively small player. the national park service controls 84 million acres of land and that's roughly equivalent to the nation of finland and requires some 28,000 employees, and that sounds pretty big, but what may surprise you is the national
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park service is actually the smallest of the four major land holding federal agencies. the u.s. fish and wildlife service is substantially larger with 551 national wildlife. >> referee: refuges, it is. and the u.s. u.s. fish and wildlife service employees some 9,000 people at facilities across the u.s. the forest service again is larger. it has 155 national forests, 20 national grasslands and seven national monday yumts, totaling 193 million acres that's larger than the area of chile, and the united states forest service employees some 35,000 people and finally comes the bureau of land management. it has 254 million acres and
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according to the cia's world fact book that puts it in position of 31 compared to the other nations on earth. it would come in just after egypt and it has some 10,000 employees. it's larger than france, spain, germany, italy, zblend england, austria, the belgium combined. to do so the four major land holding agencies have employees that are greater than the military forces of australia. the federal estate is too large and it's time we began exploring how at least a substantial portion of these lands can be returned to the states. our first speaker today chairs a subcommittee which seems based on the number would seem a
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formidable task. rob bishop is currently serving his sixth term of the utah's house of representatives. he serves on the armed services committee, natural resources committee and is chairman of the house natural resources public lands and environmental regulation subcommittee. representative bishop served 16 years in the utah state legislation you're legislature. he served two terms of the state chairman of the republican party. he's past chair of the congressional western caucus. he was also co-founder of the 10th amendment task force in the united states house of representatives. prior to engaging in politics, representative bishop spent 28 years as a high school teacher in utah focusing on american history and government.
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he's married and they have five children and six grandchildren and reside in brigham city. following rob will be carl graham. he is director of the sutherland institute of self-government. he came there from montana prepreer think tank and research center. he flew the a-6-e intruder. following a tour in japan as strike operations officer for the commander, carrier group five, carl transitioned to the f 14 tom cat. he served as squad dran operations officer, and acting as the carrier air wing liaison officer to the joint task force southwest asia. carl then served as special
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assistant and lth legislationive liaison in omaha, nebraska. his final naval nerve was with commander spastic fleet at pearl harbor. he graduated from mt state university in 1984, earning his masters in national security affairs from the naval post and then from the naval postgraduate school in monterey, california. he was born and raised in glasgow in montana. he and his wife decided to settle in boseman, mt. he served on the u.s. commission on civil rights montana state advisory committee. he currently resides in salt lake city. please well congressman bishop. [ applause ] . >> thank you. i appreciate that introduction.
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it's always good to be here. if the fish and wildlife is the size of the ukraine, is that with or without crimea? [ laughter ] >> look, i want to tell you, words have meanings and those meanings become significant. i was walking to work one day wearing a tan three-piece suit and out of one of the apartments came a teenager. i know he's a teenager because he wasn't wearing shoes and he had a cell phone in his ear and he was walking to the car and as i passed him he said that suit is so fly, and as i walked past him, i went, i was not sure whether i had been complimented or insulted. first, i checked my zipper. that was not an issue and it was not until i got to the office and talk to my 20-year-old staffers, they said in modern slang i had indeed been complimented on that particular suit. we have the words, but unless we have a common understanding of the meaning of those, that is -- we don't -- we're not really communicating and that's the problem we have with public lands in the united states today and i think there are two factors that go along with it. the first one is simply the
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size. i've got medium sized posters and small ones so enjoy. everything that's red is owned by the federal government. it is true the federal government owns one out of every three acres in the united states, but it is concentrated with us in the we -- west. we get the joy of having over half of the west being controlled by the federal government. that means that those of our friends who live in the east have some federal land but they don't necessarily have that same kind of content. let me get the small wurng for example. i pick three states at random. this is obviously the state of my speaker, my majority leader and me. in ohio and virginia and utah, everything that is blue is private property. so our good friends in the east, really, they have some public lands in there, they have very little access, very little interaction. the idea of actually working with the department of interior is not really coming in concept. now in the 1960s, the head of the park service at that time
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came up with this plan that if i can get more parks in more congressional districts i can get more money and ironically congress was dumb enough to fall for it. we find there are national parks in 49 of 50 states. it's only 13% of the land. the bulk of the land, 44% is blm, but it is only found here in the west. a few bases. there is no concept of what the blm does back there. consequently, when you talk about public lands, my good friends in the east, the only contact they have is the national park nearby. you say public lands to them and they think of a pretty tree by a pretty lake. those of us who live in the west, we deal with the blm. when we say public lands, we think of sagebrush. we're talking the same language. we don't mean the same thing which unfortunately means most
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people in pennsylvania and new jersey and new england, when they say public lands, they think all public lands are yellowstone. they are not. in fact, sometime i want to remind them that yellowstone was established in 1872 in the territory of wyoming. the second national park was only three year ago later and it was michigan and we gave it back to michigan because they can better manage the land. it was 18 years before the federal government actually came up with the idea of another national park. so we have those concepts that simply are different. what it shows us though is that, first of all, states can manage land just as well, if not better, than the federal government. in testimony we've had in our committee dealing with the forest lands in idaho and washington, we simply found even though idaho and washington have the tribes in those two states,
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they are fewer forest lands, they have much more production over a bigger quality of land, they have healthier forests, fewer fires, less beetle infestati infestation. states and tribes are showing that they can do just as good a job, if not a better job, and i also want to point out that in all due respect, sometimes the federal government just hurts people because they have the ability of having decisions made by local officials who sometimes are good and sometimes aren't. i'll give you a couple of vamples. in fort vancouver in washington, there was a national historic site in '48. it's basically a community park. they have a pavillon there. the land manager at the site thought the noise that came from the public access area was too loud for the artifacts in her
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site. so she cancels such things as a church picnic, a youth soccer fair, a concert that was there for the benefit of veterans because the noise at the church picnic would generate would disturb her artifacts in the site, and there was nothing you can do about it except come to congress and try to put pressure on them. lake mead in las vegas, taxi driver in las vegas was murdered, his body was dumped somewhere out there. they did a search for it. called off the search. the family wanted to hire a company to go in and find the body. it took them 15 months to raise the money so they could buy the liability insurance to get the special use permit that the federal government insisted the family did and once they actually raise the money, a year after the death, they found the guy's body in two hours. we had an air force staff sergeant also drowned in that area. they call off the search. it took the family another ten months getting an attorney, going to court, to have the right to have a search and
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rescue company who volunteered to help find the body to allow them to come in on federal land and actually once they were allowed to come in, they quickly found the body. i mean, we have examples all over this country of federal land managers who actually end up hurting people and the tee tons they established in the 1950s, the baddleing canoeing would bother the fish habitats. so they still banned all sorts of paddling activity on ar area that was designed for river recreation. i don't know what you do if you are not in a boat. they banned ferg because simply it took too much time to try and do that. we also have the simple example of federal government in this land process harms kids ntd west. look, in the first picture, everything in red are the states
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that have the hardest time funding their education system. they raise the least amount of increase in their funds for public education. the bottom is obviously the area that you have public lands and i hate to say this but there is a one-to-one relationship between those who have a problem raising funds for education and those that have public lands. simply because we have less ability to raise taxes. we also have also access to the resources that are there. the west gets screwed over in our education funding compared to what happens in the east. and over a 20-year period of time, it is simply a matter that the east can raise twice the amount of money as the west can for its own public education. we in the west are taxed at a higher rate than those in the east. we put a higher percentage of our local budgets in education. my kids are harmed by it. my salary is depressed by it. my retirement is still coming through the state education
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system. it's only because we have a different way of looking at the land, and as i said at the very earlier statement of that, one of the problems we have is that people just don't understand what we're talking about when we deal with public lands. all of the west and public lands are not yellowstone. one last statistic we found out and this hits people who actually live in the east. you add up all the revenue that comes from these lands and all the expenses we have from the lands. they are putting up 8 to $9 billion of a year out of the pockets of the east for the wonderful opportunity for controlling the west. one of the things there are three false narratives that i would like to dispel. number one is that only somebody in washington has the view of what is good for the entire country. number two, is there ever a difference of opinion on what should be done on public lands between someone locally and someone washington, obviously washington has to win.
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false narrative. and narrative number three is the west has to be protected from itself. i am tired of that. my education funding is tired of that. it's time to look at things in a new way of doing it, and that's what we're trying to do in congress today. thank you. thank you for the time and i'm sorry to have spent so much time boring you with all of that. [ applause ] rng i'm not sure why i'm here anymore. you guys pretty much got it. by the way, i have a much shorter bio if you are interested for the next time we do something like that. so i'm going to try to put this into a context maybe why you folks should care. representative bishop did a great job of some of the false premises out there and the misunderstanding of the language we use. in the west we're trying to restore a balance, a balance between individual and state rights and responsibilities. i think that's one of reasons you should care about this
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because it has a broader context. we're seeing an unprecedented growth obviously of federal power know. obamacare, dodd frank, the endangered species act, sage grass and prairie chicknesses, oh, month. the war on coal, the federal government buys the rope and the state uses to hang itself. that's one of thing i'm going to touch on. western states are particularly vulnerable to this because of a lot of reasons that representative bishop talked about. we have both the opportunity and responsibility to ask a very simple question. why not govern ourselves? why be states of dependence and why not be able to govern ourselves? imagine if we could restore that balance to make government more accountable by bringing it closer to home? have a servant instead of a master. and really to be able to decide
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our futures. this is what this is about, is being able to figure out the best way to educate our kids, to steward our lands, to provide for public safety and services using local solutions, local resources, local needs, solutions reflective of those things and not imposed on higher one size fits all solutions from experts who really maybe not -- aren't experts at the local level. we can see who is most at risk at this, and you've already had some stuff laid out. by the way, if you missed any of those numbers or comparisons, i got more, so don't worry. you'll have another shot at that. but you can see who is mostly hurt at this by looking who is manning the barricades out there for the over reaching and counterproductive policies we're see. the west is the canary in the coal mine. you see ranchers in nevada getting on their horses and riding to the district blm offices to protest loss of
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access or new grazing restrictions on lands that they have been on for generations. atv riders in utah are risking arrest protesting trail closures. counter -- county kmigers in new jersey are threatening -- in new mexico are trending to break the locks. accountants, cpas for crying out land, calling on the utah legislature, to relook at the level of dependents that we have there on federal money to perform basic state functions or the primary eventual vulnerable we have in the west we don't control our own resources, we don't own those lands. 50% of all those lands.
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600 million acres of land in the west, west of the colorado, nebraska line is owned by the federal government. that's enough land to cover the entire eastern satisfy sea board plus kansas, by texas, plus france. that's a lot of land. 91% of all federal lands are in the west and federal lands make up about 50% of western states. that's scbrus unfair. that's 50% of land that we're locked out of. 50% of our tax base, our productive economy, of our economic potential. if the federal government owned half the casinos in las vegas and started closing doors or shutting down black jack tables, could you imagine the impact that would have on the las vegas economy? if they owned half the florida beaches and started to cut off access, could you imagine the impact that would happen?
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we have in the west the same rights as everybody else, but we're not allowed to exercise those rights because frankly we came later. we settled those lands later after somebody or a group of people or a system decided to shut those things off from other uses, from productive uses. some say that they are national trarybs and they belong to all of us. some of them are but not a lot of them. if you look at the national parks and the wilderness areas and nobody that i know of is talking about closing down national parks. these are special lands. they are the exception. they would remain the exception. they make up a small fraction of the federal estate out in the west. generally less than 15% of the federal lands in any given western state are those type of special lands. most of them are multiple use. it's about 20 to 30 million acres per state out in the west that falls under that multiple
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use designation, the sanl brush in any cases that you saw the picture of. that's 20 to 30 acres that's the area of size of virginia within each western state, that we're losing access to. if we're going to govern ourselves, we need more control over those multiple use lands. we're talking blm and forest service lands that were designated for multiple use both recreation and economic uses. five states are somewhere in the process. utah is demanding return of those multiple use lands to state control. four 0 other states, montana, wyoming, idaho and nevada are studying it, we're going to see legislation similar to utah in those states. we're also trying to get a study there in new mexico. i'm not here to critique the
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various approaches. each state is probably going to have its unique road in some ways. each parcel of land is going to have its own unique road in some ways. i welcome all comers to this fight. we want to lay the groundwork to establish the information for folks like you to understand this issue better and to get each state with its own approach because these are lands with trillions of dollars in resources, billions of dollars in tax revenues, hundreds of thousands of jobs that are increasingly being lock up by people who really don't understand what's at stake here. one of things that's really ironic is that people who claim to worry about adversity and care so much about diversity are choking off an entire way of life. they are imposing their values on the rural production economy in ways they don't understand that. our goal is to stop that. protect the lands, balance conservation in the betterment of the human condition, to manage those lands, in short be
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proper stewards of those lands. another means of washington's imposition of control is funding. as the representative showed, with that great slide, the federal government is taking up an increasing portion of the budget of states, on average around the country right now it's about a third of state budgets are provided by federal funds and this is dangerous. it's also one reason that western states become more dependent on those federal funds is again we don't have access to our revenue base if many cases, buzz these are funds, federal funds that are being used to tell us how to educate our kids, how to provide for public safety, run our businesses our charities, our government, how to take care of our environment and resources. those funds come with strings that tell us how to do all those thing and we really have little control over those funds over what we do with those funds, that's just a western problem. that's across the nation. those are discretionary funds for the most part. they are under increasing stress. they are getting squeezed between entitlement spending and as interest rates return to
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norms. we need to work to create a plan for when those funds -- when the next federal funding crisis occurs or when those funds come under more pressure. we want to see those funds and we're helping states develop legislation and policies that see those funds and the strings that are attached to them to measure the risks of accepting them, not just the rewards and the benefits, and the risks of potentially losing them and creating plans to be responsible, to do what we do in our every day lives, to budget or to plan for that day when that fun disappears or cut in nink did i way. we maintain the right programs and i'll give you a couple of example in a minute, before i do there's another thing that i want to quickly point out too. we're trying to create a movement in the west and we're trying to publicize and get support for that movement across the country. one state utah is leading the way on most of these things. that's an anomaly. two states, that's interesting. three, four, five, states, now you have a movement.
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that's what we're trying to do. creating a coalition of leaders to get the right things done out there so we can govern ourself to we can have more control over our destiny. you saw some of the handouts we have, faqs, we try to put to go these tool kits to reclaim state rights and restore that proper balance again and to plan for the future. this goes beyond just wanting to do the right things. this also advances conservativism. it's at stake here and this is something that's a winning issue. show the costs but also provide a way forward. the left is trying to change the eleak torl map. they are trying to create a permanent majority by making more people more dependent on,
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more behole ---en too. they increased dependence by increasing benefits. we're at record food stamp recipient levels. obamacare creates more dependence, raises the costs of health care and subsidizes the increase. what a deal, you take a basic need and turn it into a government issued privilege. the crohny corporates and special interests out there. if you are a capitalist, you want to have your goods and services out there in the marketplace. you want to compete so you can't be a crohny. if you are a crohn any, you may be a corporatist who wants targeted subsidies. you want to a government and you want to influence a government that's big enough and powerful enough to pick winners and losers and decide who gets to stay in business or who doesn't based on either connections or having a correct agenda and that's not the american way.
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it's not what made us great it's not the direction we can go for very much longer. they are also trying to creating this permanent majority, by creating fear, silencing opponents. you have political leaders publicly berating individuals, private citizens, calling on agencies to audit or to target private citizens who are engaging in legal speech. you have people threatening their opponents for their political and religious believes calling for the loss of their jobs. they are able to do because of the dependence we've tacitly agreed to. we've cut to those apron strings. we need to find ideas that we can ewe into the -- unite behind. frankly i'm being right for a very long time. i'm tired of being right. into win. we need to push back against federal control and dependence. these are winning issues in the west and across the country.
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my friend tom in montana, small town in northeast montana, he shouldn't be forced off land that his grandfather homesteaded because george soros saw dances with wolves and wants to put wild bison on there. he shouldn't lose access to land in new mexico that his family has responsibly grazed and improved since the 1600s, because of san francisco billionaire held a fund-raiser for a prairie chicken. a caregiver in boise shouldn't lose her job because of a federal shut down while we're continuing to run eat your vegetables psas. it's a philosophical war for the west and the freedom we cher issue and the proper balance,
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the betterment of the human condition and government power. these issues provide an opportunity for all of us. if we can do it together, we can show working class families, we can show them that there's somebody out there fighting for them and there's alternatives out there and there's a path forward for them that enhances their traditional values of hard work, family, community. they have champions, we can be their champions and we can move their issues forward. we need the resources under those lands, that's an easy argument to make but a lot of those folks who want to make those resources available and the rural production economy are having a very difficult time because they are effectively being disenfranchised. their voice is smaller than the urban voice right now. there are more urban voters than rural voters. what do i mean by that? it's not a code word or anything. it's a demographic term. its population density, that's part of it, but it's also a connect connectedness or
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disconnectedness with that rural production economy. there are values and there are ways of working that economy. there are things that are important in that economy that make it work that the further you get from the land, the less understanding you have of those and the more likely you are to shunt those aside or not even recognize that you are harming them so when you have -- if you go out west -- if you go to billings, montana, if you go to albuquerque, new mexico, boise idaho, most of the people will be one or two generations removed from somebody who actually work the land or logged the land or developed resources from the land. they understand those values, they understand what's needed for that rural production economy. you get into the larger cities, you get to washington, d.c., as representative bishop alluded to, people don't understand that so they will unintentionally many times harm the people and the value and the economy that we all need to put electricity in our walls and gas in our cars and everything else. so when rural america goes to work in the morning, they put on their boots, they are not just going to work. they are preserving traditional
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values and ideals that made this country great. there are people who want to prevent from doing that. they are powering the greatest economy in the world. thumbing their nose at dictators everywhere. again, there are people who want to prevent them from doing that and some people who don't even want to but are. they are building a stronger more environmentally responsible and then sustainable future through this rural production economy that values hard work, family, and community and in the meantime, by doing that, they are feed scpg powering the world. there's people who don't understand the value of that and they are trying to stop them. self-determination, self-government, that's what really is -- that's what really is at stake in this war for the west that we're seeing picking up steam right now. it's not about dollars and cents. it is for some people. what it really matters, it's not that kind of issue at least not for those who have the most to lose. it's about basic fairness, about preserving viability and the values of this rural production
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economy. i'm starting in the west because it's in my backyard, it's what i know best, it's where i want to live quite frankly and that's where the risks and opportunities are greatest as well. with great risk comes great opportunity. i hope you'll help us with that. i hope you will create your own revolt in your own backyard. if you would do that, i would be honored to help you. thank you. [ applause ] >> we have plenty of time for questions and i think plenty of material to work with. if you have a question, if you can just raise your hand and then state your name and your affiliation. >> barney cohen. in the late 1990s, the clinton's administration department of interior carried out an inventory of blm land and they found some 3.3 million acres, if memory serves me correctly, that
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they really wanted to get rid of, that it cost more money for the blm to manage that land than was really worth their time. nothing ever became of their recommendation to that that. also including the eight years of the george w. bush administration which did absolutely nothing on this issue. now, congressman bishop, i believe you have introduced legislation to -- correct me if i am wrong on this, sell off those 3.3 million acres and i believe that i saw an article not long ago saying that the obama administration to to the surprise of no one opposes that because as carl pointed out, their thing is to expand government dependency, not reduce it. my question to you, congressman, is in light of the different alternatives that carl outlined to all of us, which avenue or avenues would you support to
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ultimately convey as much of the federal state as possible, that being mostly blm land from washington to the states, thank you. >> actually, it's not my bill. i'm co-sponsor of it. it's another congressman's bill which has passed the house, it is one of a few bills sitting in the senate and actually needs to go forward and actually the administration testified against that particular bill, and for whatever reason, it's just mind boggling, i don't know. that bill should go forward. that is the low-hanging fruit. the other concept is we should have as a standard or a policy the idea of transferring as much land and responsibility for that land to the state as is possible, and it can be either done strafle, it done by going through the courts through litigation, it can be done through legislation. one of things i like the state of utah is doing differently than has been done in the past,
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there's always been a problem, what's the remedy, you say you are being unfairly, what is your remedy the state of utah is now coming up with policies and implementations in there, if we have the land, this is how we would fund it, maintain it. when you go to congress, this is our remedy, give us the land. so we can tell the east, save your money, give us the land and everyone is going to be happy. >> come out and visit it. >> and don't stay too long. >> terry camp, with senator hatch's office. congressman bishop i know you've had experience with wilderness lands across the southern border. i wonder if you could talk about border security. >> in very quick terms as chairman of the public lands subcommittee, we have look at our problems on the border.
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51% of all illegal immigration and almost all illegal drugs and human trafficking are coming through one sector along the border so you got to ask yourself why, why do people want to come here illegally through tucson instead of maine. the simple answer is that it's owned by the federal government. it's prohibited by law from the border patrol doing anything except foot recon i sans. that simply means the border patrol does not have the ability to control our border. what we need to do statutorily is change those laws and we did it actually in california so they can finish building the wall. you need to change the law, statutory across the entire border simply to allow the border patrol to do what they need to do to secure the border.
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it's a statutory prohibition they cannot -- the laws that create those land designations prohibit the border patrol from securing the border. >> myron. >> thank you. myron ebelct. i have two questions for both of you. the first is an easy one, it's not easy, what do you think is the path forward if there is a window of opportunity to defederalize or desocialize some or most of the federal lands, what will be the path forward that will actually achieve that in congress? the second question is what do you think should be the ultimate goal? because the last time we had a chance to do this was early in the reagan administration, 33 years ago, and secretary jim wat
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and senior economist steve henke had a debate and president reagan sided with steve henke that was we should not turn over the lap to the state and we should privatize directly and particularly we should sell the federal portion of the ownership of the blm lands directly to the grazing permittees, they own actually the preponderance of the land typically because think own the water rights. president reagan said we should sell it directly and privatize it. i don't care which way we go on this but if we do turn it over to the states i think we should have a goal in most states that most of that land eventually end up in private ownership because socialized land is still socialized land. thank you. >> did do you want to have a -- >> sure and you can correct me.
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i'm an aall of the above kind of guy to be honest with you. i'm not going to say any idea is a bad idea right now. i think each state is going to some degree tailor their approach but we have to have some kind of unified approach when the rubber meets the road, when it comes down to that supreme court decision or bill that allows this to happen, so utah has done a great job leading the way on this with what do you want to do with it? they have come through with another set of bills that now creates things like a utah wilderness act that allows the scig nation of lands that are turn over to be made willerness areas in utah, that shows good will. will that happen? probably in a few places. they also have a land stewardship commission that will decide on the best use of each piece of land that's turned over
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as a process of turning it over. it's multiyear, it's going to take a while, you have to show the good will and the institutional stamina that you can pull this thing off before it gets further in the political process of washington, d.c. before it ultimately gets in the supreme court, no matter who wins, somebody is going to sue. i live in the world of the politically possible, i don't think that's politically possible right now. will some of that land ultimately be privatized, yeah, sure it will. but some of it will ultimately be fenced off as a result of this process. my point is the state is in a better position to make those decisions than the federal government and that's what i'm focusing on is trying to get that decision making process in state hands where they are much more accountable to people who live there than in the federal government's hands where they are not accountable to the people who live there, limited accountability and limited influence by people who live
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down the street a ways. >> actually, you said that very well. there is a realm of possibility. people back east who don't understand the difference, i mean, we went and showed these slides once to one -- to somebody who said okay now tell me the difference between forest service and blm which is a legitimate question unless you've been here for 14 years making law on both issues, which he had. so we're talking about people who don't know the difference and the kinds of land, let alone whether specialized or privatized or that kind of stuff. you say privatization to them and it shows fears going up and down their spine. it will never happen. but the issue at hand is who should make decisions about these lands, is it somebody in washington or somebody who actually lives there and that's what you enunciated. people in the state can make those decisions. whether it be it legitimatized, preserved, opened for
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development or preserved by the state. they can make that decision than somebody here in washington. that's the first step that has to go. getting those lands to somebody who locally can make those decisions is the first step. >> anthony hazard with u.s. news and world report. there was mention earlier of special interests here in washington and certainly there's no shortage of that here in d.c., but it's also of course present in state houses, where a buck can often go much farther. what make you confident that state legislatures be able to push back against that influence, such as development that might go on on what many people are seek ong these federal lands? >> for one thing, you are talking about 50 states.
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if you are trying to change broad state, changing in 50 states is more difficult than one place that has all the power. the other thing, state legislatures, they know their constituents and they know them. i know my personally, i know my representative too. we can have coffee and we can talk. we can't do that mostly with your representative or senator. you certainly can do that with the local blm. >> it's a matter of accountability, if it's made closer to the people who are affected by those more feedbact feedback is more effective. thank you for going first. i needed time before i answered
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the question as one of the most insulting questions i've ever had. i told you about the premise. the idea that only -- has what is good for the country. t a stupid, false premise. i was speaker of the house in utah. now i'm chairman of the subcommittee in washington. because i'm a congressman i have better, brighter, more valuable, more moral i was speaker of the house. that's a false premise. a silly premise to think just because you're in washington mean you make better decision than somebody in the state legislature. i refute it, deny it, and final it personally insulting. over here. we'll get you next. >> hi, my name is paulina. there's mention of colorado, new mexico, utah, but nothing in arizona. i know, with the new epa standards coal mining on navajo
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tribe might suffer, do you think this is a movement that can be pushed in arizona too people in arizona want more control over federal land? >> yeah. definitely. some people do. [ laughter ] >> can you expand on that more than just -- >> they had a utah-like transfer public lands bill in the legislature, i think it was in 2013. it was beat out by the governor. i don't know if they're going to make another run tat this year or not. it's not one of the states i'm concentrating on. if you talk to county commissioners and ranchers, they are interested in it. i'm not sure if they have come up with a strategy to move it forward. >> in my -- try to give arizona more chance to make decisions for themselves. of course, they do. they would benefit also. >> good morning. my name is scott cameron.
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i'm with a nonprofit. i used to work for nevada senator and california governor. i get where you're coming from, gentlemen. in nevada, for a number of years, there was an arrangement where blm lands would be sold and spent on environmental projects in nevada. it's still on. i'm wondering for a political deal could be struck where a blm land sold in the west could be used to augment the budget of the national park service, fish and wildlife service and so on. would it be enough to entice our liberal friends into supporting land transfer in the west? >> yeah. and there are certain opportunities with that. we have the federal land tran for clip, whatever it comes out to be. which allows that kind of process that can be expanded. we have the land water conservation fund and allows those concepts to be expanded upon. the only problem we do have now
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is there are some budget rules. depending how you use the particular funds. in some respects, i think our definitions are silly. in some respects insisting we have to have equal value before any kind of trade takes place. that's a silly concept as well. we have to work through some of those. but, yeah, it's viable. >> we had something real quickly, too. there are a lot of heck anymores for responsible tran for of management of the federal lands. when they're invoked or tried, the first thing that happens is you get a lawsuit. so you have a forest service managing timber lands to not get sued. they are not managing to manage the lands. mother nature doesn't manage them. we do. they manage them to end up in court to use the entire budget on legal settlement or fees or whatever it is that ties them up. one of the things we need to look at, aside from this, is that system that allows people
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to tie up, to misuse the remedies we already have available. that's kind of a separate topic. it's worth bringing. >> do we have a question over here? >> thank you. i'm sofie miller. i'm wondering the argument giving states jurisdiction over their lands. what are we fighting against? it's, i think, congressman laid out a lot of that. it's a lack of understanding of what the lands are. they see pictures of the grand tee tons and think it's all the federal lands in the west. that are pristine national treasures. well, some of them. some aren't. some are lands that not only can be used for economic development, for recreation, the multiple uses aren't just possible but often complimentary
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and additive, in fact. it gives access to hunters and fishers as well. the infrastructure that comes with fossil fuel development in eastern montana or in utah creates infrastructure that, again, forest, recreation, atv riders. they're additive in many cases. i think the biggest obstacle we have, first of all, people that believe that humans are a detriment to the planet. and others who don't understand that we can do this responsibly and in a way that looks to the future and betters the end condition and supports that real production economy. >> i appreciate the question. there's two big broad responses to it. the first one is, we always have a change in the attitude we have toward public lands. colonial time encouraged people to come over here.
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then sell lands in the territory make money. they would kick off the squatters they called them homesteaders and encouraged homesteading. a lot of bills was passed. we had an idea we'll keep everything and administer it. so people don't have to mix their hands in the nasty thing. we'll do it scientifically and let people's desires play a role in it. we are about time for the change. and the idea of multiple use and also the ability of opening up for settling. those things are changing. we're about to change the paradigm. that's why i feel comfort as we go forward and make the changes instinctively how we deal with land. the other is the concept in dual sovereignty. one of the few people that said there are some things that the federal government should do and have power to do.
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some things states should do and have power to do. we keep mixing it. a lot of people in washington have the idea i'm in congress i should be able to deal with everything including land policies. it was set up to have the states take the responsibility. they can do it so much better. i'm sorry. as bad as state budgets sometimes are, they're not nearly as mind on the appropriations and the maintenance as the national park service is. going back to the concept of dual sovereignty, going back to the paradigm shift on public lands. we are due to change that. we can go to a better way of handling public lands in the future. maybe time for one more question. right there. >> megan drake with the washington times. you were talking about how would like it to become a movement.
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can you talk about a big issue in 2016. if you're hoping momentum will gain, especially in the face of the issues like health care, education policies. >> it's going to be a challenge putting the top ten interest at the national level. it already is building a large building movement in the western states. as a cost of the policies become more apparent at the gas pump and the electric bill, and also those families that are trying to make their living the way they have for a long time, they're going looking for answers, and my job is to be out there with those answers. it's not going to be a -- yes, i think we'll have a movement but it's going to be focussed more on the west than the east but we need help from the east as well. >> that's a good answer. >>well, very good. i think if we have no more question, please, join me in
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thanking our speakers. [ applause ] we will need to learn again how to work together. how to comprise. how to make pragmatic decisions. in the upcoming midterm elections, americans will have choices to make about which path they want to go down and whether it will make the investments we need in our people. ly leave that discussion to others. but for a lot of us, in the private and nonprofit sectors, we have work to do, too. government doesn't have a monopoly on good idea, obviously. even if it wanted it couldn't and shouldn't try to solve all


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